What Is Mbps Speed?

By Eileen Richards

Online services and networking hardware are labeled and advertised as offering speeds in megabits or megabytes per second. These are data transfer rate measurements. They are used to talk about how fast data is being moved from one location to another, such as between networked computers or from a computer to the Internet.


One megabit per second equals 1 million bits per second. A bit is a basic binary digit – either a 1 or a 0. That digit may additionally be interpreted as true (1), false (0), on (1) or off (0).

Mbps vs. MBps

You often see data transfer rates over the Internet measured in Mbps, while local data transfer rates, such as between computers in your home, are measured as MBps. The lowercase "b" means “bit,” but an uppercase "B" means “byte.” One byte is worth 8 bits. Therefore, 1 Mb is one-eigth the size of 1 MB.


Mbps is mentioned when discussing broadband Internet speeds. Without the use of compression schemes, dial-up users are not capable of achieving a full 1 Mbps and are limited to kilobits per second speeds, which are significantly slower.


Distance can matter when it comes to broadband Internet speed. You may pay for access measured in Mbps but only receive slower Kbps service, depending on how close you are to your ISP. To see what speeds you’re really getting, try an online speed test.